COVER BOY: Talk about a hands-on guest editor: Karl Lagerfeld even photographed himself for the cover of the December issue of French art magazine Connaissance des Arts, posing next to one of his treasured porcelain lamps by German sculptor Gerhard Schliepstein. The 188-page issue showcases the breadth of Lagerfeld’s interests, from Art Deco and Memphis furniture to avant-garde architecture by Zaha Hadid. The designer put the spotlight on silver furnishings at Versailles, Swedish design from the Twenties, Renaissance treasures in Sienna and the artists Richard Wagner and Matthias Grünewald. He also doesn’t hold back from voicing strong opinions, declaring an “allergy” to such Surrealist artists as Dali and Magritte and lambasting much of contemporary art — save for such practitioners as Jeff Koons and Alain Bublex — for its “pretension.” Pithy quotes and barbs by the designer accompany most articles, but Lagerfeld himself can be seen only three times in the magazine: on the cover, posing next to his colossal bookshelves at his Rue de Lille studio — and without his signature dark glasses on the editor’s page.
— Miles Socha
NOISES OFF: A handful of European journalists got a preview of Visionaire’s 53rd issue high above the roofs of Berlin last week, beating out the 126 participating artists who haven’t yet seen — or perhaps, more important, heard — the fruit of their efforts. The launch also cut in before Art Basel Miami, where Visionaire has previously unveiled its latest winter season projects, and where Visionaire Sound will be presented in an installation.
The third Visionaire to focus on the senses (after earlier investigations of smell and taste), Visionaire Sound is round, shiny and black, with silver accents, just like the brand new Clubman car from the issue’s collaborator, Mini, owned by the German auto company BMW. And while Visionaire publisher Cecilia Dean said Mini gave the magazine’s team free rein in developing the Sound project, the Mini Clubman just happens to be pivotal to its implementation.
“We liked the idea of doing 12-inch vinyl [records]. There’s something archaic to it, like the original Mini Classic. But while we originally wanted to do a portable turntable, it got incredibly massive and cumbersome,” Dean explained. In what she described as a “eureka” moment, someone suggested using a “vinyl killer” — a little battery-operated VW camper that drives on a record and plays it. Producer Razyworks was willing to transform the traditional VW into a Mini Clubman, which is parked on five double-sided picture disks featuring images by Cindy Sherman, Nick Knight, Mario Sorrenti, Robert Longo and Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, among others.
Insert the signature Visionaire battery from Maxell, and let the killer Clubman roll over one- to two-minute tracks from 116 highly varied sound makers. Emerging talents share the disks with big music, art, fashion and film names like Courtney Love, The Pet Shop Boys, U2, Robert Wilson, Maggie Cheung, David Byrne, Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson, Helmut Lang, Linda Evangelista, Liza Minnelli, Malcolm McLaren, Miss Kittin, Marina Abramovic, Stefano Pilati and others.
The limited edition of 4,000 copies carries a $250 price tag, and includes two CDs of the Sound content plus a booklet of images, credits and instructions.
— Melissa Drier